There is so much talk these days about the importance of branding. In fact, the concept of Personal Branding has spawned an entire industry. There are a countless number of coaches, consultants, authors and speakers now in this field and Amazon.com has more than one thousand books on the subject.
If you are seeking to harness the power of Personal Branding there is a great deal of value to be gleaned from these resources. However, a challenge you will have will be to understand the true meaning of a brand so you can recognize and choose the resources that are best suited to helping you meet your objectives.
There are two aspects to every brand
The internal aspect of a brand—the managerial side of brand building—focuses on how the brand creates value for customers. The external aspect of the brand—that which communicates the brand’s promise of value to its customers—focuses on how the brand is identified and understood.
Much of the information on Personal Branding today focuses on this external view of a brand. It emphasizes the importance of developing a consistent identity in the marketplace that distinguishes you from others in your field.
That’s why Personal Branding pundits with backgrounds in etiquette and image consulting focus on how you present yourself in person–from what you wear to what you say to what car you drive. Others, with backgrounds in marketing communications focus on shaping your identity through your business card, website or social media presence.
This approach to Personal Branding is similar to the notion that brand building in business is solely comprised of communication strategies. This school of thinking erroneously views a brand as simply a logo, packaging or an advertising campaign.
Astute business professionals know better—it takes more than communication strategies to build a strong brand and business.
Even strong personal brands are strong on the inside
In a recent post I explained that a brand is strong when its promise of value is compelling and genuine. This managerial side of brand building focuses on ensuring that a brand is strong on the inside™.
This happens when the owner of a brand has:
- A passion for creating and delivering the value customers are seeking
- The means for consistently and reliably delivering this value on a sustained basis
That’s why the owners of strong brands are so passionate about capturing their brand’s raison d’être within a brand platform. This helps them nurture a business model for their brand that comprises the right culture, capabilities and company-wide business practices that will enable them to create, deliver and communicate the compelling value that their customers are seeking.
It serves little purpose to communicate your brand’s promise of value to your customers unless you are de facto capable of creating and delivering on this promise of value.
The same thing holds true for Personal Branding.
For your personal brand to be strong it must first be strong on the inside. Only then can you hope to build a distinctive and consistent identity in the marketplace that sets you apart from others in the marketplace.
Personal Branding starts on the inside
The Personal Branding domain provides some guidance on defining the internal side of your brand but the Career Management and Life Coaching domains are particularly rich and valuable sources of information in this regard.
Career and Life Coaches assist you in discovering the Personal Branding platform that will elucidate your unique raison d’être. Their intention is two-fold:
- To help you discover your passion—that which makes you, you—by interrogating your values, dreams, skills, personality traits and interests. It is through this deeper understanding that you are able to bolster your ability to truly be distinctive in the marketplace
- To match your personal passion and capabilities with economic opportunity so that your vocational and life pursuits are more likely to be rewarding and fulfilling and you are more likely to excel at them
Having defined your Personal Branding platform, you have the means to focus your words and actions on building a distinctive and consistent identity that sets you apart from others in the marketplace. The external part of your brand stems from and is coherent with the internal part of your brand. This is because your identity will be founded on your passion for creating, delivering and communicating the compelling value that customers are seeking—value that is important to you first!